The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW gun range open to law enforcement trainees

Westworth+Village+Police+Officer+and+firearms+and+tactics+instructor+William+Petty+practices+shooting+an+AR-15+assault+rifle+at+the+new+NW+Campus+firing+range%2C+which+opened+Aug.+15.++Photo+by+Zach+Estrada%2FThe+Collegian
Westworth Village Police Officer and firearms and tactics instructor William Petty practices shooting an AR-15 assault rifle at the new NW Campus firing range, which opened Aug. 15. Photo by Zach Estrada/The Collegian
Westworth Village Police Officer and firearms and tactics instructor William Petty practices shooting an AR-15 assault rifle at the new NW Campus firing range, which opened Aug. 15.  Photo by Zach Estrada/The Collegian
Westworth Village Police Officer and firearms and tactics instructor William Petty practices shooting an AR-15 assault rifle at the new NW Campus firing range, which opened Aug. 15. Photo by Zach Estrada/The Collegian

By Kirsten Mahon/nw news/multimedia editor

TCC’s new, state-of-the-art firing range held its grand opening Aug. 15.

“We’ve waited about 37 years for this day, but we are very patient people,” NW Campus president Elva LeBlanc said.

The range is used strictly for training and allows neighboring police departments across Tarrant County to train new officers. Any institution training law enforcement at the local, county or state level is permitted to use the facility.

The project came to life when the nearby Chisholm Ridge High School brought concerns of safety and noise to TCC’s attention.

The original outdoor range is located directly behind the high school’s football stadium — a rock or a football can easily be chucked over the fences from the school into the range’s property.

According to range master Adam Bush, the noise was the biggest concern from the high school’s administration that pushed for the construction of the new facility.

Construction began approximately a year ago. Suzanne Cottraux, district director of public relations and marketing, and Nina Petty, real estate and facilities vice chancellor, said the project was completed within the projected budget at $8.1 million. According to Bush, construction was originally expected to take two years, but because the process was quick, TCC was able to save money.

Bush was hired for the job two years ago when design began. He visited various firing range facilities for blueprint ideas.

By Kirsten Mahon/nw news/multimedia editor

“I was able to travel around the country to a ton of different ranges and take the best from those different facilities and create this facility I think people are going to envy,” he said.

The new range has air conditioning and features a ventilation system that helps keep lead levels down while circulating a comfortable temperature.

Bush worked with Lee Lewis Construction and VLK Architects on the design of the 15-lane facility, which can serve up to 30 students at a time, he said. 

“Every range is different,” said Sgt. Mike Bedrich of Southlake police.

Bedrich stood at the 25-yard line in one of the new lanes shortly after the grand-opening speeches were finished.

“This one is definitely state-of-the-art,” he said, adding that he would like to use some of the same elements in his firing range currently underway in Southlake.

“It’s pretty,” he said.

According to Bush and Scott Donaldson, NW assistant coordinator of the criminal justice program, the original outdoor range was great to get trainees accustomed to using their weapons in inclement weather. But because of the heat and sometimes snow, it was difficult to completely train students.

“You can’t do as much,” Donaldson said.

After the old range is cleaned out and brought up to standard, Donaldson said they can use it as a Simunition shoot house — a range to shoot at moving targets where students use non-lethal bullets.

“It allows trainees to feel the weapon,” he said. “Training is as real as it can be.”

Donaldson said several people have contacted the NW police academy with inquiries to rent out the new facility.

 

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